When asked whether he had anything to say - perhaps to explain why he killed Rebecca Ramirez and the two boys and set fire to their bodies, or to show some remorse for what Judge Timothy Hansen called "one of the most egregious and heinous" crimes he had seen in two decades as a judge - Jorge Orozco had a simple answer.
With that, the 36-year-old found out his fate.
"Today is a happy day - today is the day he pays for his decision and actions," Paul Almarez, Rebecca's oldest son, said in a written statement read aloud at Orozco's sentencing hearing Monday. "He took away our mom and our baby brothers. Today, we are no longer his victims.
"(My mom) taught me how to love unconditionally. A part of her lives in me, and I will pass it down (to her) grandchildren."
Noemi Ramirez was only 7 years old when she last saw her mother in July 2002, driving away from her grandfather's home with Orozco and her two little brothers, ages 2 and 4. She fought back tears Monday as she faced the stoic Orozco across the courtroom.
"He hurt us a lot - but we are still here and close as ever. ... I just hope you suffer (in prison)," Noemi Ramirez said.
Hansen handed Orozco, clad in his jail uniform, three concurrent life sentences. The judge told him that he searched the trial evidence and presentencing investigation reports for any explanation of the execution-style killings in the desert south of Mountain Home. Hansen could find none.
"I'm left with the conclusion these killings were a senseless crime of violence, with no reason or excuse for why they happened," Hansen said.
Martin Ramirez, Rebecca's ex-husband, has raised all five of her remaining children after their mother's death. He said he was glad to have the case wrapped up.
"You can never really get true justice ... even though we got (a life sentence). It'll never bring back our loved ones. They are gone," Ramirez said.
"But I think it brings closure as far as we don't have to worry he is out on the run, enjoying his life. We know where he is going to be at. He is somewhere we don't have to worry about him hurting another woman or kids. I think that brings relief to the kids.
"Like they said, they have struggled, but they are still here. They are still kicking."
FOUND IN THE DESERT
Two fishermen found the burned remains of a vehicle on Aug. 11, 2002. Inside were three bodies. Enough of the license plate was left to identify the car as Orozco's.
Days later, the bodies were identified and Orozco was charged. But he had already left Idaho.
Orozco spent time on the FBI's Most Wanted list and avoided arrest for seven years by hiding in Mexico, his home country.
The FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and Mexican police captured Orozco in October 2009. Deputies brought him back to Idaho a year later.
At the trial last October and November, Elmore County prosecutors said Orozco killed Ramirez and the boys after she found out that he was married and planned to leave him for another man. Prosecutors also told the jury that Orozco suspected Ramirez of stealing some methamphetamine and money from him.
Orozco's attorney told the jury a different story: that the defendant fled the United States because he was in the country illegally. Orozco claimed that his car was shot at by someone else and that whoever was responsible also likely killed Ramirez and her children after Orozco ran.
RETURNED TO IDAHO
As part of a deal to get Orozco extradited from Mexico, Elmore County Prosecutor Kristina Schindele agreed not to pursue the death penalty.
Schindele told the judge that Orozco has never shown remorse and needed to be put in prison for life, with no possibility of parole, for such a callous crime. Schindele said Orozco has no history of mental illness or substance-abuse issues.
When Orozco was arrested in Mexico and talked to an Elmore County detective for the first time, Schindele said, he asked, "It's about the woman in the papers?"
"He couldn't even remember (her) first name," Schindele said.
Defense attorney Terry Ratliff asked Hansen to allow Orozco to seek parole after serving 30 years. Ratliff did not address the question of remorse, saying Orozco had a story and stood by it.
Patrick Orr: 377-6219, Twitter: @IDS_Orr
A judge says that Jorge Orozco's slaying of his girlfriend and two of her sons in 2002 was so horrible, he will never leave prison